Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How Functional Neurological Disorder has affected my weight

My dressmaker nicknamed me the 'incredible shrinking bride' in the lead up to my wedding. I couldn't stop losing weight. In despair she told me to 'stop it' as she could not possibly take in my wedding dress any more!  6 weeks after my own wedding I was a bridesmaid at my friends wedding and the dress, that had been snug at the fitting, hung off me. I had to pin the bodice to my bandeau bra so that it would not move and cause a wardrobe multifunction!

This was post baby number 3, pregnancy number 8, after which I had needed to lose 20kgs.  I jogged at least twice a day and tried to do either pilates, yoga or tae bo in a day as well.

Skip ahead to 2007.  Another baby, 2 more pregnancies. The last one devastating. It left me about 10-15 kgs overweight and sporting a baby jelly belly & no baby to show for it.  Looking ahead to our NT adventure planned for the end of the year, I knew I needed to get back on track or I would come back from 4 weeks travelling terribly unhealthy.  I had jogged & done pilates with baby number 4 up until the day I was hospitalised with pre-eclampsia.  But the last pregnancy had taken its toll on me and I was no longer jogging.

I made a decision to turn things around and started getting up at 4:30am so that I was ready to head out on my jog as soon as the sun peaked over the Moresby Ranges. I implemented all the exercise tactics I had used in the past to get fit. By mid December 2007 I was once again fully ripped.

Sometimes I think people don't believe me when I tell them I got control of my weight again after baby number 4, pregnancy number 10.  But I did.  It seemed even if I let weight creep on, all I had to do was go back to my reliable routine to shed it again.

Skip forward to December 2012.  Post baby number 6, pregnancy number 14.  Although I lost weight while I was pregnant, since having the baby I had put it back on and nothing was shifting it. I promised myself that I would use the Christmas Holidays to shed those unwanted kilos.  Due to trouble sleeping, getting up at 4:30am to jog was no longer an option as I was barely falling asleep from the previous day at that time!

So I committed to walking every morning as soon as I could get out of the house. I had done that when I first started jogging all those years ago and it had been a great starting point.  I stuck to my plan the whole school holidays but by January 26, 2013 I was really sick.   By February 6, 2013 I was in hospital.  My medical condition had gone undiagnosed and untreated for too long, over 10 years.  In hospital for two weeks and on bed rest after my release, any fitness I had gained back was gone. And the worst thing? I hadn't actually lost any weight from all the exercise I had done over the holidays!  :-(

Left untreated for so long, in response to any genuine attempts to exercise enough to lose weight, my body just says NO!  When my stubbornness kicks in and I insist YES the muscle pain is excruciating. The whole body lethargy debilitating.  My children cannot touch me without causing me physical pain & bruising.  

Bottom line: I cannot do any of the things I used to do in the past to lose weight. I have tried. I have tried them all. My pilates that I love SO much, only 15 mins into a session my legs will stop responding to commands.  About the only thing left to me is walking, and I HATE walking. I'm a hare, not a tortise.....!  But then even walking became painful, my right leg, my strongest leg, playing up. At the start of this year (2014) I was walking 7.5kms a day, dragging my gimpy leg behind me. Since my stay in hospital in 2013 two muscles in my right leg have 'switched off' neurologically, and no longer work. So the other muscles bear the brunt of carrying my weight, hence the pain. Also I keep falling into the classic trap of anyone with any sort of fatigue illness; having a high energy day and making the most of it going all out getting EVERYTHING and ANYTHING done, and then laying around whacked out for the next week, barely enough energy to lift your arms to brush your hair, let alone taking a step without tripping over the pattern in the lino....

And still I lost no weight.  I am not a great swimmer, but I tried swimming laps. It was great impact free exercise and didn't seem to bother my leg but sadly I couldn't fit pool trips into my daily routine or weekly budget :-(

I even contacted Michelle Bridges hoping she might take me on as a challenging project.  One of her assistants wrote back telling me to sign up for the program...not quite the result I had been hoping for. I've had offers from local trainers to help me, but they all want me to pay for the sessions without even knowing if they can actually help me achieve any results. Also a lot of them run comparisons and competitions between the participants in their classes. I already see my friends around me starting on their weight loss journey and passing me on their way. I don't think comparing my journey to others is healthy for me at the moment. I'm not the average participant.

Already believing I was eating better than ever before in my life, my only option left was to try the "I Quit Sugar" route and after two months, weight started to move. Not heaps, but enough to encourage me to continue.

And so now here I find myself again at the start of another Christmas School Holiday period. I'm not sure yet how I am going to make the most of it, but I know I am!  I have already returned to my pilates and I hope to add daily walks back in.

No jogging for Ali *insert epic sad face*

So if you see a lady walking around town, accompanied by a gaggle of Freaks, and dragging a gimpy leg, give me a wave and maybe even a honk of encouragement. Because I aim to show you that it can be done. A mother of 6, with health issues, can shed weight and regain a healthy BMI ;-)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Things I hope I'm teaching my children (that my parents never taught me...) Part 2

2. To cook:

Strangely enough my mother believes she sent me off into the world with a foundational knowledge of cooking; she had taught me how to make scrambled eggs & how to bake piklets, scones & cakes, all using packet mixes. -_-

My mother was ahead of her time & steamed all our vegetables, including potatoes (*gag*), all our meat was cooked in a vertical grill but she rarely used any spices so the food was very bland.

I was 12 years old before I'd tasted a cream sauce or gravy & was introduced to mashed potatoes, all because I spent the night at a friends house for the very first time!

Even the salad we ate as children came out of a can. The only fresh vegetable in our salads was tomato.  The rest was all pickled :-/

I didn't know what real cake mix looked like until I saw Pippa on Home & Away making one. It was so firm!  Packet cake mixes are so runny and thin... *shudders*

Even to this day my mother cannot understand why I bake from scratch when she sees it as much easier to tear open a packet. 

Funnily enough though, after watching an episode of Master Chef, I spoke with my children about their favourite food memories and not one of them mentioned any of my cakes or baking. Their favourite food memories were all savoury dinner type recipes. Was not expecting that!  

My favourite food memories are of the party food my mum used to make for my birthday.  The main reason it tasted so good? It was the only thing she ever baked/made from scratch (except for the cake which was a packet mix).

Everything I know about cooking, I actually taught myself once I left home!

But I am confident that every single one of my children will be able to find a recipe, grab the ingredients, follow the method and cook up whatever their hearts desire :-)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Beautiful Scandalous Night

God gave me a vision of a new take on my previous Tree of Life canvases & I absolutely love it!!

My friend showed me a coloured glass bowl she loves and I knew straight away I wanted to make a canvas that incorporated those colours, and would help decorate her new home.  The picture below is a photo I snapped off quickly of the bowl while I was visiting :-)

This project ended up being the quickest that I have ever completed a canvas, even though I employed a new technique!

But the first step was choosing the right colours and layering them correctly.

While that was drying I gathered the lyrics of one of my favourite songs of all time and printed them out in a nice font on standard printer paper. 

Beautiful Scandalous Night


go on up to the mountain of mercy
to the crimson perpetual tide
kneel down on the shore
be thirsty no more
go under and be purified

follow Christ to the Holy mountain
sinner, sorry and wrecked by the fall
cleanse your heart and your soul
in the fountain that flows
for you and for me and for all

at the wonderful tragic mysterious tree
on that beautiful scandalous night you and me
were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
on that beautiful scandalous night

on the hillside you will be delivered
at the foot of the cross, justified
and your spirit restored
by the river that pours
from our blessed Saviour's side

- Chorus -

you carry the sin of mankind on your back
and the sky went black
go on up to the mountain of mercy
go the crimson perpetual tide
kneel down on the shore
be thirsty no more
go under and be purified

- Chorus (2x) -
on that beautiful scandalous night
beautiful scandalous
miraculous night

 Miss 21 helped me to reverse the whole document so that the finished product would have readable lyrics.

Then took my standard Kaisercraft wooden tree that I have used on my previous Tree of Life canvases and, using gel transfer medium, applied the page of lyrics to the tree.  I left it to dry for 24hrs.

I have only used the transfer method once before and that was transferring photos to pine.

Removing the paper was a very delicate task & sadly some of the words did peel off.  I didnt have any problems with the photos peeling when I did them, but my SIL in law did, so in a way I was ready for it to happen.  Overall though the results were very good, and pretty much in line with how I wanted the tree to look when finished.

Once fully dry I sealed both the tree and the canvas, but separately.  Then I attached the tree to the canvas & it was done!  From start to finish the piece took me 3 days. :-)

But best of all.....my friend LOVES IT!  And she saw straight away that the colours matched her bowl!  How awesome is that??? :-D

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Crispy Choc Peanut Slab

Hi this is Lyssa, commonly referred to here as 'Miss 21' and this is my recipe.


Chang's Original Fried Noodles 100g x 4
Nestle Plaistowe Milk Chocolate 200g x 4
Smooth Kraft Peanut Butter x 8 Tbs
Rainbow Chocolate Chips

Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together, either on the stove or in the microwave, until combined & smooth.

Add noodles straight to your chocolate mixture. I crushed my noodles ever so slightly. Mix until noodles are fully coated with chocolate.

Line a 21 x 31 cm baking tray with greaseproof baking paper. Use a tray with larger measurements if you desire a thinner slice.

Pour mixture into prepared baking tray. Even out gently with a spatula.  Top with rainbow chocolate chip sprinkles.

Refrigerate until set. Mine only took a couple of hours. When set cut carefully. It is quite sweet so completely up to you how large or small you cut your servings. :-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ahead of Her Time...Part 1

I have been thinking a lot about my mother lately and the realization that has come to me is that she really was a woman ahead of her time...possibly out of place even. If she had be born into another family, about 20-30 years later and in another country she could have rivaled Martha Stewart. But then she probably wouldn't have been my mum.

Why another family? My grandfather was very strict, the details I wont go into, & the result is that my mother has never really been one to put herself forward or promote herself to others. She knows her own achievements and is happy to bask in her own glow requiring praise or confirmation from no one. It is almost secretive the way she operates. That way she is not exposed to unwanted comment or criticism I guess.

Why another country? Well...I guess just because Martha Stewart is American & I associate being American with having the confidence to back your ideas & dreams. Australians do too, now, but we are a young country compared to the US so we have been slower as a nation to fully jump on board with people having marketable qualities.

If my mother was a young woman today with avenues to easily share your work with others such as Pinterest etc,  options to sell your work to the world such as Esty, I think her life would have taken her on a possibly more self satisfying journey.

As it was in the 80's my mother was considered a bit of a strange creature compared to other women where we lived. She wasn't interested in exercising the new found freedom of working once your children went to school. A brilliant woman she had been denied an education by her father. In today's world she could have returned her attention to her education as her small children grew, but in the 80's, living in a remote location, no internet as we enjoy today, that was not an option.

She seemed happy to be a homemaker in the full sense of the word, during the middle of an era where homemaking or stay at home mothers were no longer valued. If you didn't have your own job you were an appendage of your husband. She struggled to have her identity recognized in this new age. We've only just seen a turn around in those attitudes as we ended the Naughties. Its pretty cool these days to be a stay at home mum who flourishes in her role as homemaker & homeschooling mums are everywhere. With so many tools at our finger tips the one on one time teaching your child is an advantage & a luxury, not a handicap.

In this series of blog posts I will endeavor to share what an amazingly talented woman my mother was (is) & how confined she was by her times. If only to show us how 'easily' our own goals and dreams can be achieved in today's world. Sometimes you don't know where you are until you have seen where you've been. I aim to share with you just one woman's humble story.